Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Some Professor Said...

Is it just me, or does anyone else seriously question the historical accuracy of a lot of these forwarded e-mails about students and professors?

NOTE: If you have personally forwarded me an e-mail about one of these things, I LIKE the e-mails. You aren't annoying me. I read them, and I think they often make good and meaningful points. I'm just wondering if they're based on conversations that have actually happened.

It's always either a professor who teaches a life lesson that is good and meaningful, or one who is psychotically anti-God who is revealed to be stupid by some young kid.

Here are some of the ones that come to mind:
  • The one about how the professor argues there is no God because you can't see him, and the student argues that the professor has no brain because no one has ever seen it.
  • The one about the professor who defies any Christians in his class to admit they are Christians, by challenging God to prevent the chalk he holds from shattering when he drops it. One day a student is bold enough to stand up for God, and the professor mocks them, then by some weird means of the chalk getting caught on his sleeve, then rolling down softly, it doesn't shatter. So God apparently stopped the chalk from breaking.
  • The one where Johnny has to do pushups so that everyone in the class can eat donuts. (Johnny...will you do 10 pushups so that Suzie can have a donut?) The point of the story is that Jesus died for your sins whether or not you want to accept his free gift of love and forgiveness.
  • The one with the jar where all the students think the jar is full of golf balls, then the professor adds pebbles which fit between the balls, then he adds sand, then two cups of coffee. The point is that no matter how full and busy you think your life is, you should always be willing to make time to share a cup of coffee with a friend.

Some of these are better than others. Most of them are somewhat heart-warming, but I've always been one of those types who likes to see sources cited. I like these stories, but I feel guilty forwarding them on, especially if they are intended to be of some sort of apologetic value. I want to be able to say whether these are true stories or pedagogical parables.

What do you think? Are these just sermon illustrations that some guys made up, or are any of these real stories about things that have happened? What's your favorite e-mail forward about what some professor said?


  1. Poppycock, I say!

    I don't mind saying it even if you do. If anyone reading Mark's blog wants to forward along an E-mail like this, don't bother...

  2. Yeah. Made up. Like almost all the illustrations from preacher-anecdote handbooks (I'm assuming those exist; some stories come up too often for them not to).

    Plus they're often idiotic: If the kid split the professor's skull, everybody could see his brain. No such thing with God. The professor is correct. QED, if painfully.

  3. Yeah...that has always bothered me about the professor's brain. It is definitely possible to prove it's there.

    Yes, there are definitely books of preachers' illustrations. I think most of them unfortunately rely on what they get in forwarded e-mails. Such as these stories...